Sandplay Therapy

What is Sandplay Therapy?

According to Swiss Jungian analyst, Dora Kalff (1980) ‘Sand pictures represent figures and landscapes of the inner and outer world, and they appear to mediate between these two worlds and connect them.’

Dr. Homeyer and Dr. Sweeney state that ‘sandtray therapy is an expressive and projective mode of psychotherapy involving the unfolding and processing of intra and inter-personal issues through the use of specific sandtray materials as a non-verbal medium of communication, led by the client(s) and facilitated by a trained therapist.’

Mark Pearson from Australia Expressive Therapies states that ‘sandplay is a hands-on, expressive counseling and psychotherapy modality that forms a bridge between verbal therapies and the expressive therapies, allowing the deeper aspects of the psyche to work naturally and safely, and is highly effective in reducing the emotional causes of difficult behaviors.

Sandplay Therapy is a therapy that uses a sandtray to create an environment of safety and acceptance and uses carefully selected and arranged miniatures as a non-verbal expressive modality type of psychotherapy. In the process of creating his/her world in the sandtray, one experiences a connection between his/her inner world, unconscious memories and outer self with one’s emotions.

Target Group

Suitable for all between age 8 to 80 years, including children, teenagers, young adults, middle aged adults, seniors, couples and families.

Scope of Sandplay Therapy

Suitable for use in counseling centres, schools, hospitals, orphanages, mental rehabilitation centres, family and community settings.

The Purpose of Sandplay Therapy

  • Gives expression to non-verbalized emotional issues
  • Helps an individual understand his/her inner world from an objective perspective
  • Allows self-acceptance and increases self-confidence
  • Builds optimism through an individual’s self-directed initiatives
  • Strengthens self-expression, enable decision making and encourages greater risk and responsibility-taking

Advantages of Sandplay Therapy

  • Provides a needed and effective communication medium for individuals with poor verbal skills
  • Effective for children and adolescents in reducing defensiveness to verbal therapies
  • No artistic talent needed
  • Appropriate for use with families due to its inclusive characteristics

The Effects of Sandplay Therapy

According to the research done by Dr. Homeyer and Dr. Sweeney, the effects of sandtray therapy include:

  • Providing a needed and effective communication medium for individuals, without criticism and judgment, to access and explore deeper intra-psychic issues more thoroughly and freely
  • Due to its unique kinesthetic quality, sandtray therapy assists individuals facing crisis or emotional struggles to deal with their inner wounds more easily and effectively
  • Creates a place for individuals to experience control so that repressed and regressed emotions are able to be expressed and through this expression, find healing
  • Enables individuals in crisis and trauma to regain inner confidence and strength
  • Encourages individuals’ natural self discovery instincts and cuts through intellectualization and verbalization often used as defence mechanisms
  • Creates necessary therapeutic distance and reduces transference between a therapist and individual